Brentford have completed the signing of Ecuadorian winger César Joel Valencia Castillo for an undisclosed fee. The 24-year-old completed a medical in West London late yesterday, Tuesday 30 July, and officially joined The Bees today, subject to international clearance. Joel Valencia – as he is best known – joined Brentford from Gliwicki Klub Sportowy Piast Gliwice, the current champions of Poland, and has signed a four-year contract.
Joel spent the past two years with Piast Gliwice and, last season, helped them win the national title for the first time. His performances in a variety of attacking midfield roles earned him the Polish Player of the Year award. He scored six goals in 33 games last term, contributing a similar number of assists.
Rasmus Ankersen, Brentford FC Co-Director of Football, said: “With his outstanding technical skills, Joel is a joy to watch on the pitch, but at the same time he is a very effective player who masters many parts of the game, both offensively and defensively. I am pleased it has been possible to sign him, and I am sure that Brentford fans will fall in love with him very quickly."
Thomas Frank, Brentford FC Head Coach, added: “Joel had an excellent season last season and was one of the main reasons Piast Gliwice won the league for the first time. He produced goals and assists and also created lots of other chances. His output in terms of goals and assist can be even higher and he will develop as a player with us.
“He is a player with incredibly quick feet and he will excite Brenford fans. His one-on-one attacking is superb and he will provide assists and goals for us. I look forward to working with him and watching him playing for Brentford.”
Joel scored nine goals in 58 league appearances for Piast Gliwice and represented them in their UEFA Champions League qualifying campaign earlier this summer. He was born in Ecuador but moved to Spain at the age of eight and holds a Spanish passport. He played for both countries at youth level and is still eligible for both.
Joel started his career at Real Zaragoza and played in La Liga for them when a teenager. Most of his football was played for Zaragoza B before moving to Atlético Malagueño, the reserve team of Málaga Club de Fútbol, on loan and then on to Unión Deportiva Logroñés in the Spanish lower leagues. He spent 18 months with Football Club Koper in Slovenia before the move to Poland and the honours that followed.